Women of the World at Southbank Centre

©Youri Lenquette. France. Paris. 12/2010.  Fatoumata Diawara.

In celebrating International Women’s Day, the Southbank Centre is showcasing successful females from all over the globe in their Women of the World (WOW) festival. As one of their flagship festivals, which started out in 2011, WOW was triggered by a “big bang moment”, says Domino Pateman, Special Projects programmer at Southbank Centre.

“We felt there was a feeling in the air, a zeitgeist, where women were thinking about new ways to achieve equality and that men were getting involved as well,” Domino explains. “We wanted to capture some of that and provide a space where we could collect all those stories and show them to a national audience.”

With around 90 events, she insists there’s something for everyone with lots of free events, debates about serious, thoughtful issues as well as “frivolous and fun stuff” including creating nail transfers of images of female role-models so that everyone in attendance will be wearing a woman on their nail.

One main highlight will be the world premiere of Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, a feature documentary by Pratibha Parmar about the life and art of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple. This will be followed by an In-conversation with the director.
Special guest political activist Naomi Wolf will take on big international issues as well as talking about her own personal journey. Topics of rape and myths surrounding this will also be confronted, Domino says.

“There are a lot of wrongly held beliefs like that if a woman dresses a certain way it means that she’s more susceptible to becoming a victim and these widely held beliefs have a devastating effect of women and men, not only on reporting these rapes but also the way they play out in court since jury members can also hold those views,” Domino says. Deputy Assistant Commissioner from the Met Martin Hewitt will be there in person talking about these issues.

The Women of the World festival is running at the Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, from March 6 until March 10. Phone: 020 7960 4200. http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/


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